June 26, 2014

What is our Role in this Humanitarian Crisis that Affects our Valley?

Familes and Children Held In U.S. Customs and Border Protection Processing Facility

The recently publicized humanitarian crisis the Rio Grande Valley is experiencing has generated a diverse stream of comments yielding from the educated and compassionate to the obnoxious and insensitive. I recently read the two stories that I’m writing about and I encourage everyone to read them, or read the following sypnosis.  It is important, in my humble opinion, to keep things into perspective.


Diaa Hadid and Joseph Krauss wrote an interesting article for the Huffington Post featured June 20th, 2014.  The story talks about the more than 50 million refugees dispersed across the world at the end of last year, reflecting an ever-expanding web of international conflicts according to the U.N. Refugee Agency.

“The agency found that at the end of last year, 51.2 million people had been forced from their homes worldwide, including refugees, the internally displaced and asylum-seekers. That was the highest figure since the U.N. began collecting numbers in the early 1950s. ‘The world has shown a limited capacity to prevent conflicts and to find a timely solution for them,’ U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said. ‘Today, we not only have an absence of a global governance system, but we have sort of an unclear sense of power in the world,’ Guterres told reporters in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, where the report was released.

According to this story it was also reported that the biggest refugee populations were Afghan, Syrian, and Somali.

Another article for the same publication titled These are the Real Reasons Behind our Humanitarian Crisis at the Border written by Roque Planas really digs into the varied scenarios and historical events that have led to our current humanitarian crisis. Aside from partisan differences Planas considers widespread violence and increasing poverty in Central American countries as the dominant factor behind the surge of immigrants.

Honduras is the world’s most violent country outside of a war zone, Planas writes, and El Salvador and Guatemala aren’t far behind. The problem is that the economies of these countries are closely tied to the U.S. export market and because of the 2008 global financial crisis their poverty rates climbed.

In his article,  Planas points out the role the U.S. has played creating these “messes” which bears consideration.  The U.S. has funded civil wars under the pretext of containing communism in addition to deporting anyone with a criminal record which helped ignite gang participation in these countries. Once those civil wars ended, aid programs were slashed for almost anything besides drug war policies.

These immigrant children, some here in the valley look down on – have probably been sexually abused and exploited and have endured tremendous suffering at home, not to mention  leaving their family and homeland. Contrary to popular belief, most of these children and families would not be here if it weren’t for the harsh conditions found at home. There are several studies and interviews that can be found online that support this statement.

Furthermore, because of an improving Mexican economy illegal immigration from Mexico has plummeted forcing the “coyotes” (human smugglers) to seek new clients in Central America according to David Aguilar the former acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.

What prompted me to write this story is the desire to share different perspectives hoping to shed some light on the real situation we are facing. It is very easy to criticize and call people names, but please read a little bit more and find out how you can help – there is plenty of need. Consider this before penning an unpleasant comment.

There are so many sides to one story and circumstance. Life is not that simple unfortunately. One of the main reasons retirees choose the Valley as their home is the kindness of its people. Let’s show that kindness to the world.

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About the Author

Tapia - Gonzales
La Vida Valle is where I write about "la vida" living in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Life, art and culture, poetry, prayers, travel, and camping! yes, that's my new thing. I blame the heat and high humidity for the madness. Contributions and comments are always welcome .


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